The small hours of the morning is the only time that is real. Once the world has gone to sleep the thick cloud of influences and unspoken social contracts lifts and one can hear the subtle voice of their own soul. Hence e- likes to be nocturnal if it can help it. After many months of polite begging, e- was finally granted permission to paint a mural at the a gallery e- worked for. At the far end of a dusty 2nd floor hallway. this is bliss. A blank wall is e-s loved one it cuddles up with on a cold night watching netflix and eating ice cream(or whatever normal people do) E- takes off it's shoes and dances with the melancholic wonderland of 4am. Stale smells of weed and cat urine. Lowly humming of the cities sleepless industrial arteries. A solitary car or wondering figure: a fellow nomad in the hour of dreams. At least while it lasted. The galleries administration was all but fine with having an artist work for free on their building, all but one. E- was banned from working on it outside of business hours and cast out onto the street one night. Problematic, as e- was relying on public transit that only operates in daylight hours. So with a bicycle and a very vague idea of the location of the cheapest airbnb in the city, e- set out into the night.
Apparently there are people who drive 100s of miles to go mountain biking for the thrill and excitement. The only rational reason as to why, is that urban america is too much of a challenge. An endless obstacle course of broken glass, homeless encampments, scant bike lains crumbling into trash filled ravines, overgrown foliage, open manholes, derelict construction equipment, never a dull moment. E- crashed in the little military bunk bed of the house-turned-hostel after a night of picturing itself on a thrilling mad max adventure navigating a post apocalyptic hellscape. The mural was finished, begrudgingly during the day, and the evening light rail marginally lessened the harrowism of the return trip.
The final night the station was dark and cold. A dozen human silhouettes huddled in the shadows as if afraid of the lights, e- doesn’t know why, but it does the same. One began a slow sort of moon dance. As if reenacting a super slow motion action scene.
“Quit Playin. Yo! Quit Playin! I told you you doin to much of that shit!”
The man backed into a poll and crumpled to the ground. He was overdosing on fentanyl. Fentanyl is a daily companion on the streets of Denver. It’s Iconic peanutbutter-gasoline aroma is more familiar than deodorant; and strangers ask for blues or pills more often than directions. There was a moment, maybe 30 seconds, maybe more, when e- stood still thinking ‘there’s a dozen people closer than me, if I call 911 it’ll just be redundant.’ Only when it became apparent that no one was going to do anything did e- finally call. One stranger shot him with niacin, then walked away when nothing happened. All but two dissipated from the scene, including those who appeared to know him. When the paramedics put him in the back of the ambulance, it sat in the parking lot with lights flashing for 20 minutes before turning them off and driving away in deathly silence. For a very long while, e- couldn’t think of anything but those 30 seconds.